Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

The Work and Social Adjustment Scale for Youth: A Measure for Assessing Youth Psychosocial Impairment Regardless of Mental Health Status

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Journal of Child and Family Studies Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

A key component of delivering mental health services involves evaluating psychosocial impairments linked to mental health concerns. Youth may experience these impairments in various ways (e.g., dysfunctional family and/or peer relationships, poor school performance). Importantly, youth may display symptoms of mental illness without co-occurring psychosocial impairments, and the reverse may be true. However, all available instruments for assessing youth psychosocial impairments presume the presence of mental health concerns among those assessed. Consequently, key gaps exist in knowledge about the developmental psychopathology of psychosocial impairments; and thus how to understand impairments in the context of youth mental health. To address these issues we developed a modified version of a 5-item measure of adult psychosocial impairments (i.e., Work and Social Adjustment Scale for Youth [WSASY]) and tested its psychometric properties. A mixed clinical/community sample of adolescents and parents completed parallel versions of the WSASY, along with a multi-domain, multi-method battery of measures of adolescent internalizing and externalizing concerns, parent psychosocial functioning, adolescent-parent conflict, adolescent peer functioning, and observed social skills. On both versions of the WSASY, increased scores related to increased adolescent mental health concerns, adolescent–parent conflict, parent psychosocial dysfunction, and peer-related impairments. WSASY scores also distinguished adolescents who displayed co-occurring mental health concerns from those who did not, and related to observed social skills deficits within social interactions with unfamiliar peers. The WSASY opens doors to new areas of inquiry regarding the developmental psychopathology of impairment, including questions regarding the onset of impairments and their links to mental health.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

Download references

Author Contributions

A.D.L.R.: designed the study, assisted in executing the study, assisted with data analyses, and wrote the paper. B.A.M. and E.A.Y.: assisted with data analyses and collaborated in editing the paper. S.J.R., M.D.L., and L.M.K.: collaborated in editing the paper.

Funding

Effort by A.D.L.R. was supported, in part, by a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (R324A180032). Effort by M.D.L. was supported, in part, by the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH110585).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Andres De Los Reyes.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

E.A.Y. has consulted about psychological assessment with Pearson, Janssen, Lundbeck, Joe Startup Technologies, and Western Psychological Services. The other authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of Maryland at College Park’s Institutional Review Board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Appendices

Appendix A

Work and Social Adjustment Scale for Youth Self-Report Version

The ways people think, feel, or behave sometimes affect their ability to do everyday things. These things might include doing well in school, completing household chores, relaxing during free time, and having close relationships with friends and family. We would like you to look at each of the items below and rate YOURSELF on how much the ways you think, feel, or behave impair your ability to do each of the everyday things described in the items. By “impair” we mean “make difficult, harm, or worsen.” An example might be if the ways you think, feel, or behave create problems for you that get in the way of completing homework assignments or making friends.

  1. 1.

    Because of the ways I think, feel, or behave, my ability to do well in school is impaired. ‘0’ means ‘not at all impaired’ and ‘8’ means ‘very severely impaired to the point I can’t do well in school.’

  2. 2.

    Because of the ways I think, feel, or behave, my ability to complete household chores (for example, cleaning, tidying, helping with cooking, looking after brothers and sisters) is impaired. ‘0’ means ‘not at all impaired’ and ‘8’ means ‘very severely impaired to the point I can’t complete chores.’

  3. 3.

    Because of the ways I think, feel, or behave, my ability to enjoy free time spentwith other peopleoutside of school and chores (for example, parties, outings, visits, dating, having people over at home) is impaired. ‘0’ means ‘not at all impaired’ and ‘8’ means ‘very severely impaired to the point I can’t enjoy myself during free time with other people.’

  4. 4.

    Because of the ways I think, feel, or behave, my ability to enjoy free time spentaloneoutside of school and chores (for example, reading, hobbies, listening to or playing music, exercise) is impaired. ‘0’ means ‘not at all impaired’ and ‘8’ means ‘very severely impaired to the point I can’t enjoy myself during free time alone.’

  5. 5.

    Because of the ways I think, feel, or behave, my ability to form and maintain close relationships with other people, including those I live with (for example, parents, brothers/sisters, friends), is impaired. ‘0’ means ‘not at all impaired’ and ‘8’ means ‘very severely impaired to the point I can’t form and maintain close relationships with other people.’

Appendix B

Work and Social Adjustment Scale for Youth Parent Report Version

The ways children and adolescents think, feel, or behave sometimes affect their ability to do everyday things. These things might include doing well in school, completing household chores, relaxing during free time, and having close relationships with friends and family. We would like you to look at each of the items below and rate YOUR CHILD (i.e., the child you brought here today) on how much the ways s/he thinks, feels, or behaves impair her/his ability to do each of the everyday things described in the items. By “impair” we mean “make difficult, harm, or worsen.” An example might be if the ways your child/adolescent thinks, feels, or behaves create problems for her/him that get in the way of completing homework assignments or making friends.

  1. 1.

    Because of the ways my child thinks, feels, or behaves, her/his ability to do well in school is impaired. ‘0’ means ‘not at all impaired’ and ‘8’ means ‘very severely impaired to the point my child can’t do well in school.’

  2. 2.

    Because of the ways my child thinks, feels, or behaves, her/his ability to complete household chores (for example, cleaning, tidying, helping with cooking, looking after brothers and sisters) is impaired. ‘0’ means ‘not at all impaired’ and ‘8’ means ‘very severely impaired to the point my child can’t complete chores.’

  3. 3.

    Because of the ways my child thinks, feels, or behaves, her/his ability to enjoy free time spentwith other peopleoutside of school and chores (for example, parties, outings, visits, dating, having people over at home) is impaired. ‘0’ means ‘not at all impaired’ and ‘8’ means ‘very severely impaired to the point my child can’t enjoy herself/himself during free time with other people.’

  4. 4.

    Because of the ways my child thinks, feels, or behaves, her/his ability to enjoy free time spentaloneoutside of school and chores (for example, reading, hobbies, listening to or playing music, exercise) is impaired. ‘0’ means ‘not at all impaired’ and ‘8’ means ‘very severely impaired to the point my child can’t enjoy herself/himself during free time alone.’

  5. 5.

    Because of the ways my child thinks, feels, or behaves, her/his ability to form and maintain close relationships with other people, including those s/he lives with (for example, parents, brothers/sisters, friends), is impaired. ‘0’ means ‘not at all impaired’ and ‘8’ means ‘very severely impaired to the point my child can’t form and maintain close relationships with other people.’

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

De Los Reyes, A., Makol, B.A., Racz, S.J. et al. The Work and Social Adjustment Scale for Youth: A Measure for Assessing Youth Psychosocial Impairment Regardless of Mental Health Status. J Child Fam Stud 28, 1–16 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1238-6

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1238-6

Keywords

Navigation